Exercising outdoors if you suffer from allergies is a challenge. If you enjoy running, hiking, tramping or cycling outdoors but suffer from allergies, you do not have restrict yourself indoors permanently if you learn to work around the allergies.

It is best to start off with an allergy test to determine what you are allergic to. Most common allergens can be identified in the simple skin-prick test. Once you know the outdoor triggers for your allergy (commonly different pollen’s) you can take steps to avoid getting sick.

There are different types of pollen which are active at different times of the year and even different times of the day.  There are websites that will give you an accurate indication of allergy counts at different times of the day and year. Register with such a service a keep a close watch on the numbers. Warm, dry  and windy weather  can bring high pollen counts, so avoid exercising on such days. Wear a face mask during your workout and rinse your nostrils once you finish.

Warm, humid days can exacerbate allergens such as mould. However once it rains, most of the allergens are cleared so it is a good time to exercise straight after a rainfall.

Sometimes the right exercise in the wrong environment can bring on allergic reactions. For example, if you enjoy swimming (which is incidentally an excellent exercise for strengthening the lungs) and can swim in the open sea but have trouble in the swimming pool, it could be due to an allergy to the chlorine used in pools. Be cautious if this is the case, and discuss taking a long-term anti-histamine with your doctor.

Some foods can help in alleviating allergic symptoms as they strengthen the immune system, and may even help in preventing allergies from developing. These include:

  • fatty fish like salmon, tuna
  • fresh fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C like tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant
  • nuts and healthy oils
  • yogurt and probiotics, both with high counts of live cultures

Most allergies are manageable with the right diagnosis and the right medication. Keeping your nasal passages and lungs clear should be the goal of someone who suffers an allergy. Always take your medications on time if you have been prescribed them, even if you feel no symptoms at that time and keep an inhaler handy at work, in the car and at home.